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Booze in Ireland and Minimum Unit Pricing

The alcohol consumption, alcohol-related harm, and alcohol policy in Ireland for 2021 has been published. Ireland is a nation of drinkers; the new report places Ireland 9th in the world ranking for alcohol consumption. This report, along with many statistics and data presentations based on previous years, give a clearer picture of the trends occurring and developing within Ireland.

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Is a SocDem-Labour Merger Going to Happen?

Quite simply, no. This is the short answer to a question that requires unpacking and analysis. On paper, it makes sense for these two centre-left parties to merge into one party. They share similar policies and two former Labour Party TDs were involved in the foundation of the Social Democrats in 2015. One would think it would be pragmatic for the two parties to merge.

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Should Social Welfare Payments Should Be Increased?

In the last few days, it has emerged that there is support for social welfare payments being increased from €203 to €250. This view has been expressed and supported by Green Party Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development with special responsibility for Community Development and Charities, Joe O’Brien. According to Newstalk, Minister O’Brien has said that ‘social welfare rate should be increased to €250 over the next few years’. O’Brien also said that ‘he’d challenge anyone to live comfortably solely on the current rate of €203 a week, the standard rate of Jobseeker’s Allowance’.

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SpaceX are Putting Humans Back on the Moon

Only 24 humans have ever set foot on the Moon, with the last to do so landing in 1972. Now, NASA is planning to bring that number up to 26 with the help of SpaceX. NASA launched the Artemis program in 2017 with the goal of returning humans to the moon by 2024, and this partnership marks a significant point in that journey. SpaceX has landed the contract to develop the Human Landing System (HLS), which will transport two of the four astronauts from the Orion spacecraft in orbit to the lunar surface. From there they will explore the moon’s surface, collecting samples and performing scientific experiments for a week, before returning to Orion aboard the HLS.

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Joe Brolly and the Freedom of Expression

In what has since become a popular area for social media discussion in the past few weeks, Joe Brolly was recently removed from a panel discussion relating to the future of the North. More importantly this involved a debate as to the role the DUP would play in any such future, along  with the extent to which their views and outlook would be incorporated in to any such solution or arrangement. 

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The Past and Future of Japan's Evolving Role in World Affairs

Japan is a country with a long memory and a complicated history. Its relations with its neighbours have long been fraught with tension, oscillating between periods of increased hostility and restrained détente, occasionally punctuated by armed conflict. This complicated history still has a profound effect on the way in which Japan interacts with its East Asian neighbours and how many of them perceive Japan, thus making it worthy of examination.

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